book critique.pdf

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It feels like you’ve inserted the chapter break mid-text; it doesn’t feel like the chapter has a clear
ending – a sense of finality or a good cliff-hanger.

I think the overall length of the book is fine for the genre. I would be careful not to increase the
length further, however.

I’m afraid your opening didn’t grab me. I read the book blind (so didn’t read the synopsis first),
and it took me a while to realise the book wasn’t about Character Z. The first chapter was too
long, I felt, and was focused on Character Z’s backstory, which didn’t entice me to read on in the
book. Then the second chapter was again backstory. So I was left feeling a little frustrated that
nothing was happening – there was a lack of action, and it’s really action that hooks the reader.

I liked that you came back to Character Z at the end. I’d have liked the penultimate chapter to end
with more impact, as it’s the end of the main story, and I’d have liked more connection between
Character Y and Character X. Also, I think the final Character Z chapter is a little long – the true
end of the book needs to be the end of the Character Y/Character X story, and this should be a
short epilogue to frame the story.
Finally, it’s good to try to make the last sentence of a book a powerful one, and at the moment I
feel your last sentence lacks impact.

Point of view (POV)
First/third person
You use the first person narrator for both Character Y and Character X’s POV, which leads to the
reader getting very lost as to whose POV we’re in. For example, Chapter 2 is in Character Y’s
POV, then Chapter 3 shifts to Character X – but you don’t convey this to the reader, and we feel
like Character Y has suddenly switched locations/sexes etc.
It’s rare to write a book in which two characters are narrated in the first person, because of the
confusion it creates. The only way to do it clearly is to write the name of character at the start of
each section where you shift. I don’t think this would work in your book, though.
My suggestion is that Character X – who is the main character, and who is the writer of the
manuscript Character Z is reading so is most likely to be the first person narrator – remains in the
first person (I did this, I thought this), but Character Y is narrated in the third person (she did this,
she thought this). You then strengthen Character X’s voice and avoid the confusion.